The American government's folly of shutting down enemy chat sites such as karadzic.org
Imagine that you are a police detective. By blind luck one day, a bank robber in your town accidentally includes your e-mail address on the listserve to his fellow conspirators in the robbery. As the days go by, you receive more e-mails detailing the plans and timing of the upcoming heist.
When you almost have enough information about the conspiracy and identity of the parties involved to make arrests, you consult with a computer expert. He tells you that you have two options: 1) do nothing and continue to monitor the developing dialogue among the conspirators, or 2) he can use an advanced program to disable the listserve so that the conspirators can no longer use it to talk.
The answer would be pretty clear to most people: of course we would continue to monitor the developing conversation until we had enough information to make arrests. Shutting down the listserve may temporarily block the present channel of communication of the conspiracy, but the bad guys would ultimately find another way to communicate. And once they switched to other means of communication, you as detective would once again be in the dark about their developing plans.
But the American government would answer this question differently. Since it began making an active effort to recruit hackers to target enemy websites and chatrooms over five years ago, it has actively sought to erase these websites rather than use them to gather intelligence.
Such is the case with karadzic.org. Once the central stopping point for sympathizers wishing to leave messages of support and encouragement - and occasionally actionable information about his appearances at different events and homes - the site is now non-existent thanks to American government efforts to shut it down. Karadzic supporters still chat, but the chat is now spread out across hundreds of more obscure sites that make monitoring more difficult.
Karadzic.org is not the only instance of this blunder. The inefficient tactics of destroying mainstream enemy websites has also been used against various insurgent groups in Iraq. The International Crisis Group released an excellent and well-researched study of the strategic blunder of destroying these websites rather than reading them. That report can be read here.